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Supremo: KPLC Director Ngeno Skirted Due Process In Multibillion Smart Meter Tender Scam

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Kenya Power Supply Chain Manager John Ngeno

Kenya Power managing director Dr. John Ngeno is at the center of a controversial Sh5 billion smart meter contract awarded to four companies in what has been termed as an irregular deal according to a complaint filed at the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board.

Insider sources speaking to Kenya Insights say that the supremo director flawed procurement process. The procurement manager and assistant procurement manager professional opinions were not captured. The documents went from the evaluation team straight to Dr Ngeno who is a Director. The evaluation team and the procurement managers were under duress from Dr Ngeno.

In challenging the decision to award four companies the contract, businessman Benedict Kabugi Ndungu alleges that the tender was initially for local manufacturing firms but the power utility firm unlawfully altered the requirements in an attempt to customise it for a few preferred bidders.

He says the tender’s eligibility criteria were opened up to include local assemblers of meters and not manufacturers.

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“All this was done in a conspiracy meant to make sure that the qualifications criteria fit particular bidders. This conspiracy was hatched and executed by some staff from KPLC in cohorts with preferred bidders,” his complaint reads in part.

He contends that the four companies which were awarded the tender are not manufacturers of meters but tender entrepreneurs or assemblers of meters owned by politically well-connected Kenyans.

“To accommodate the preferred bidders, KPLC changed the eligibility requirement to participate in the tender from manufacturers only, to include assemblers,”he said.

He avers that KPLC violated the procurement laws as section 155 of the Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Act prescribes that preference should only be offered to manufacturers and not assemblers and to companies where Kenyan citizens are shareholders.

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Ndungu further alleges that the awarded bidders’ prices in the tender were approximately Sh7,000 per meter while the current existing supplier with KPLC offers the same meters at Sh4,000.

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“This is almost double the price, a clear-cut case of a conspiracy to defraud the people of Kenya,” reads the document.

These documents proves the price issue. The evaluation report moved straight to Dr Ngeno and all the line managers who are the procument manager and the assistant procurement manager were bypassed. That’s a big red flag. Dr Ngeno is a Director.

The four companies that were awarded the tender according to documents seen by Kenya Insights include: M/s Inhemeter Africa Company Ltd for Ksh 5,457,227,975 ( firm is linked to William Kabinga Gatheca, M/s Smart Meter Technology Ltd for Ksh 4,655,935,500 (linked to Sam Mburu, husband to Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika), Yocean Group Limited for Ksh 5,481,096,564.20 , and M/s Magnate Ventures Ltd (linked to Stanley Kinyanjui and his brother) for Ksh 5,437,930,052 Including 16%.

He claims this was a well established scheme by cartels to defraud the public. “The processing of this subject tender is nothing more than a scheme to defraud Kenyan taxpayers through a well calculated conspiracy to defraud and collusion with politically connected individuals.” It reads.

The businessman says in documents seen by Kenya Insights that tenders eligibility criteria was opened up to include local assemblers of meters and not manufacturers via the six addendum’s a fact which substantially changed the original tender document and the eligibility criteria.

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”All this was done in a conspiracy meant to make sure that the qualification criteria fits the qualifications of particular bidders. These conspiracy was hatched and executed by a criminal enterprise comprising of corrupt KPLC members of staff led by Dr. John Ngeno, the General Manager, Supply Chain & Logistics in cohorts with his preferred bidders.” The complaint reads.

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Mr Kabugi said the criteria was allegedly opened up to include local meter assemblers and not manufacturers through six addenda, a fact which he says substantially changed the original tender document and the eligibility criteria.

Mr. Kabugi claims the tender was bloated, “the awarded amounts surpassed the allocated budget and the excess amounts were never approved by the Board of Directors and neither was the procurement plan amended to accommodate the excess amounts which is a breach of Section 53(2 & 8) of the Act which requires that all procurement transactions must be within approved budgets and that the Accounting Officer shall not commence procurement transactions until it is ascertained that funds have been allocated for the transaction.”

He has forwarded the information to the DCI, ODPP and EACC requesting that a thorough investigation into the matter be done and action taken against those involved in what he terms as ‘daylight theft’ be prosecuted.

Ng’eno joined the power utility after being transferred unceremoniously from Kenya Bureau of Standards (KBS) where he tainted his name by flaunting insurance tender. He was also implicated in a tender dispute over cars inspections where the DCI had made recommendations for him to be charged but has never been arrested.

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At KPLC, Ngeno is facing accusations from local contractors of refusing to sign off contracts for firms fronted by individuals he perceives to be from “opposition zones.”

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The contracts for labour and transport services have been left unsigned for the last two months, causing frustration and anger among the affected contractors.

According to sources close to the situation, Ngeno is accused of using his position of power to play politics, rather than making decisions based on merit and the needs of the company.

This has resulted in a backlog of 34 contracts, causing delays and financial losses for the contractors involved.

They demand that Ngeno be held accountable for his actions and that the contracts be signed immediately.

They argue that the delay is unfair and goes against the principles of equality and fairness in business.

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The situation has ignited fervent discussions with some of the affected contractors calling for Ngeno’s removal from his position.

They have also called for a comprehensive investigation into the matter, with the aim of ascertaining the extent of the political bias and its ramifications on the company.

These allegations against Ngeno have raised serious questions about the impartiality and credibility of Kenya Power’s management, and the necessity for reforms to ensure that decisions are made based on merit, rather than political affiliations.


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